This is a beautiful, intelligent story of a middle-aged couple working to save their marriage after the wife’s infidelity, as told from her point of view. She is a wise, self-aware, sensitive, and likeable artist who struggles daily with the effects of guilt, jealousy, regret, dishonesty, and honesty on a relationship, as well as the nature of forgiveness (how hard to forgive and how impossible to feel forgiven). The novel is suspenseful, even though we know the ending from the first sentence—the heart of the story is not the outcome; it’s the journey—the fact that we are all works in progress (“We are a life’s work, aren’t we?”) with complicated relationships and motivations (“How was it that any one of us could walk across a room without our own multitudes tripping us up?”). I love that sentence; Black’s writing is marvelous, and I will eagerly follow her writing life.
“In their late 40s and childless, Owen and Augusta move to an isolated farm house to pursue their art -- he as a writer, she as a painter. When Alison, a divorcee escaping her own demons, unexpectedly moves in next door, the fault lines in all of their lives threaten to break open to reveal layer upon layer of grief, loss, and love. Black is a master storyteller. Her prose is distilled, and again and again she offers a phrase or a sentence that captures a whole life. An extraordinary novel.”
— Sheila Daley, Barrett Bookstore, Darien, CT
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR "Taut, elegant . . . Black is a writer of great wisdom."--Claire Messud, The Guardian (UK) Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more. Augusta Edelman--Gus to her friends--is a painter, a wife, and not always the best judge of her own choices--one of them bad enough that she and her husband, Owen, have fled their longtime city home and its reminders of troubling events. Now, three years into their secluded country life, Gus works daily on the marriage she nearly lost, discovers new inspiration for her art, and contemplates the mysteries of a childhood tragedy. But this quiet, healing rhythm is forever shattered one hot July day when a stranger moves into the abandoned house next door and crosses more boundaries than just those between their lands. A fierce, honest, and moving portrait of a woman grappling with her fate, Life Drawing is a debut novel as beautiful and unsparing as the human heart. Praise for Life Drawing "The page-turning suspense of Robin Black's novel comes from her beautiful, honest portrait of a marriage, of a life. . . . A novel of consequence, and a stunning one."--San Francisco Chronicle "Gripping . . . the power of this story is how it illuminates, in utterly compelling detail, the complex give-and-take of a couple trying to save their marriage."--O: The Oprah Magazine "Truly brilliant . . . Black] is that rare writer whose gift for prose is matched by her mastery of the other elements that make a great novel. . . . Her] psychological prowess and incisive observations lend an edge even to seemingly straightforward scenes."--Chicago Tribune "Races to its resolution . . . Black's writing is clear and direct with] observations about the way people relate that resonate well after the book is closed."--The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Robin Black is the author of the critically acclaimed short story collection If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, a finalist for the Frank O'Connor Short Story Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including One Story, Colorado Review, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, O: The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, and the anthology The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. I. A recipient of fellowships from the Leeway Foundation and the MacDowell Colony, Black was the 2012 Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bryn Mawr College and has taught most recently in the Brooklyn College MFA Program. She lives with her family in Philadelphia.
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